“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” This is the lesson 12-year-old Ted (Zac Efron) learns on his quest to find a real live Truffula Tree so he can impress the girl of his dreams, Audrey (Taylor Swift), in Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax.
The film opens in Thneedville, a walled city surrounded by an empty wasteland where nature doesn’t exist. Everything is artificial, including the air and the trees. Determined to gain Audrey’s affection by making her dream of seeing a live Truffula Tree come true, Ted sets off to find the Once-ler (Ed Helms), under the advice of his lively grandmother, Grammy Norma (Betty White). Grammy Norma tells Ted that if he brings the Once-ler 15 cents, a nail, and the shell of a great-great grandfather snail, the Once-ler will tell him where he can find a Truffula Tree.
In the middle of nowhere, far away from Thneedville, Ted finds the Once-ler who agrees to tell him about trees. It takes several visits for the entire story to be told, but Ted continues to see the Once-ler despite the pressures placed on him by Mr. O’Hare (Rob Riggle), Thneedville’s Mayor and owner of the oxygen company.
The Once-ler begins the story with how he met the mystical creature called the Lorax (Danny DeVito) – a small, grumpy orange creature who speaks for the trees. When the Once-ler was a young businessman a long time ago, he encountered Truffula Valley, a beautiful, magical place where Truffula Trees grew, Humming-Fish sang, and Bar-ba-loots danced. There, the Once-ler discovered the Truffula Tree – the key to his invention, the Thneed. At first, the Once-ler promised the Lorax not to cut down any trees, but as his invention became a success, the Once-ler’s family convinced him that it would be more efficient to do so. Out of greed and laziness, the Once-ler agreed. However, things soon spiraled out of control as the forest became polluted and destroyed. As the Once-ler turned to the Lorax in anger, the last Truffula Tree fell. The Once-ler was left in ruins as his business depended on Truffula Trees, and even his family abandoned him. The Lorax was forced to send all wildlife away, including the Humming-Fish, Swomme-Swans, and Bar-ba-loots, leaving the word “unless” carved in a stone.
Now realizing the meaning of this word, the Once-ler gives Ted the last Truffula seed. What began as a quest to win the girl of his dreams becomes a personal pursuit to show the town the importance of nature. But first, Ted will have to stand up against Mr. O’Hare who tries to convince the town that trees are no good.
Although this film is educational and has a very important message, it’s done in a fun and engaging way. Visually-stunning, it includes a number of catchy songs, right from the opening of the film to the end. Although this family film is aimed at children, it has humor that all ages can enjoy. Not to mention that the characters and colorful creatures are so cute and silly that there’s sure to be a smile on your face right from beginning to end. The film truly plunges its audience into the world of Dr. Seuss where these whimsical, wacky characters are brought to life.
Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax is available today on DVD and Blu-ray. Special features include Seuss to Screen: a look at how Seuss’ style was brought to the big screen; Seuss it Up, a tutorial on how to draw the Lorax; Once-ler’s Wagon, a game with the Truffula Valley creatures, and a featured commentary.
The movie will also be released in a Blu-ray combo pack which contains a Blu-ray, DVD, and digital copy of the film, along with many more special features. These include: deleted scenes, a “Let it Grow” sing along, two games (Truffula Run and Get Out of Town), commentary with co-directors Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda, O’Hare TV, where you can watch the Lorax with hilarious commercial interruptions, and Expedition to Truffula Valley, a way to navigate through the valley to explore its creatures. Plus, the combo pack contains three never-before-seen mini movies. These are only available in the combo pack and feature the lovable, quirky creatures of Truffula Valley, including the Lorax. The mini movies, much like the film, will be sure to get you smiling and laughing at the creatures’ crazy antics. ~Isabelle Khoo